Rafael Viñoly's Brooklyn Children's Museum Expansion to Open This Fall
The Brooklyn Children's Museum is aiming to become New York City's first LEED Silver-rated museum.
Nicholas Tamarin -- Interior Design, 8/22/2008 12:00:00 AM
Children may grow up too fast, but it’s never too soon to welcome the new face of the Brooklyn Children's Museum. The wait is almost over as the expanded building, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, opens its doors on September 20.
Located in the borough's Crown Heights neighborhood at the intersection of Brooklyn and St. Marks Avenues, the 109-year-old museum now boasts an L-shaped, two-story structure clad in 8.1 million canary-yellow ceramic tiles.
The new addition, which will double the institution’s size to over 100,000 square feet, is integrated within the existing structure of the museum and configured to create better circulation and traffic flow through the complex. For example, the existing rooftop terrace and outdoor theater are both now linked directly to the new second-floor exhibition galleries and kid's café. Also brand new are a lobby, classrooms, library, gift shop, and additional administrative offices.
Clearly taking his audience into consideration, Viñoly incorporated specially designed, child-friendly features throughout the space. The low-mounted wooden handrails are naturally more ergonomically correct for young people, and the porthole windows are placed at various heights and angles to assure that every age gets a view.
Viñoly also did his part to help the BMC achieve its goal of becoming the city's first LEED Silver-certified museum. Rapidly renewable and recycled materials were specified wherever possible, including bamboo and recycled rubber flooring. Geothermal wells are used for heating and cooling purposes, a first for New York museums. Photovoltaic cells on the exterior walls convert solar energy directly into electrical power, and energy-saving sensors control interior lighting and ventilation systems. All this should certainly prepare the architect for his next project: the design of the city's first LEED-rated police station.
A rendering of the new Brooklyn Children's Museum building.
Image courtesy of Rafael Viñoly Architects